Jalapeno Popper Pasta Salad - This pasta salad tastes just like a jalapeno popper! Plenty of rotini noodles covered in creamy jalapeno ranch, then loaded up with chopped jalapeno, crispy bacon, cheese, and croutons!
I feel like this salad really needs no introduction. It is just loaded up with good things!
Jalapeno poppers have always been something I crave when it gets warmer outside - so, why not turn a favorite snack into the ultimate side dish?
I've had jalapeno poppers two ways - the kind that are stuffed with cream cheese then wrapped with bacon and grilled.
Then, of course the delicious fast food kind that are packed with melty cheddar cheese and typically dipped in a ranch dressing dip to cool the heat!
Have you had both? Which is your fave?? Me? I can't decide. I love them all.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEO FOR THIS RECIPE BELOW!!
So, this pasta salad is really a mix-up of both kinds of jalapeno poppers.
This rotini pasta is coated in the ahhhmmmaazzzing jalapeno ranch that I made with these Jalapeno Ranch Chicken Tacos.
I add about ½ cup of fresh chopped jalapeno, you can also use jarred if that's what you have on hand!
If you are like heck no that looks too spicy - you can use regular ranch dressing instead of the jalapeno kind, and use a tad less chopped jalapeno.
Personally, I'm not a huge fan of crazy spicy things, and I find this to be just right as is.
We also have cubes of pepper jack and cheddar cheese in here - you know I am going to always find a way to cheese it up. One cheese wasn't good enough for me, and these are both amazing in here.
Last but not least, crushed garlic croutons!! These are what remind me a little of that crispy fried fast food jalapeno popper that I love so much.
Guys. Don't skip the two cheeses, and don't skip the garlic croutons. Trust me. The flavor is pretty much insane! In a good way, of course.
It's finally warm enough here to go enjoy the outdoors this weekend - woot!
So, we're going to the lake - and this pasta salad is coming along for the ride!
Don't forget to find the jalapeno ranch dressing recipe right HERE!
FOR THE JALAPENO RANCH:
- 1 Cup Ranch Dressing, Homemade or Store Bought
- 2 Medium Jalapeños, Stems and seeds removed
- 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice
- 1 Clove Garlic
FOR THE PASTA SALAD:
- 1 Pound Rotini Pasta
- ½ Cup Chopped Jalapenos
- ½ Cup Cubed or Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- ½ Cup Cubed or Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese
- 8-10 Slices Bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
- 1 Cup Garlic Croutons, Crushed
FOR THE JALAPENO RANCH:
- Combine the ranch dressing, jalapenos, lime juice, and garlic in a high powered blender or food processor. Pulse until completely smooth.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rotini according to package directions. Drain pasta, run under cold water until completely cool, set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the pasta and jalapeno ranch. Add the jalapenos, cheddar, pepper jack, and bacon, stir well to combine.
- Stir in half of the crushed croutons. Top the pasta salad with remaining croutons before serving. Chill until ready to serve.
I shared this recipe over at The Weekend Potluck - check it out!
Recipe adapted from A Bird and a Bean.
Hi Nichole. I want to make the jalapeño popper pasta salad one day ahead for a party. Should I withhold the croutons until I’m ready to serve it? I don’t want them to get mushy. Thank you.
Hi! Yes, it's best to leave them out until ready to serve. Enjoy 🙂
What can I substitute for the ranch? I hate ranch and have never eaten jalapeno poppers with ranch. Does the recipe still work if I just leave out the ranch entirely?